1 week ago

Philips Hue dimmer switch review: An easy way to connect your lights


Philips recently launched a remote control for its connected Hue light bulbs. The previous remote, called the Tap, could change entire color sets between four buttons, and was powered by the kinetic force of pressing the device. The new dimmer switch maintains a much slimmer profile, but only works with white Hue bulbs and is battery-powered.

That sounds like an even trade-off, but the dimmer switch has one extra feature that could clinch a decision between the two — read on.

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1 week ago

AC editors' apps of the week: RAD Boarding, Fast Like a Fox, The Walking Dead: No Man's Land and more


Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: iPad Pro on the scene


Really big news this week: the iPad Pro is here and, well, it's really big.

We're hitting that point in the year where we're running up against the holidays, which means manufacturers are running out of time to get their latest wares out. So we're looking at the last launches of the season: the Apple iPad Pro this week and the Microsoft Lumia 950 next week. Oh, and TAG Heuer launched a new Android Wear smartwatch — and it's not cheap.

The Mac App Store ran into some issues, Windows 10 got a bunch of small but useful updates, and Microsoft's plans to get Android apps onto Windows Mobile aren't going as planned

All of this and more, this week on Mobile Nations.

Android Central — Big announcements, new top devices

Nexus 6P

Everyone at Android Central is recovering from a BlackBerry Priv hangover, but there was plenty that happened this week to get us all back in the swing of things. TAG Heuer launched the most expensive Android Wear watch to date to kick off the week, then T-Mobile followed it up with some big plan changes on the carrier front. Google finally updated Maps with offline navigation, and LG released the first Android Wear watch with LTE connectivity.

For our part we released the latest in our Android History series — this time breaking down 2011's progressions — and compared the new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X to their predecessors. We also have a new leading device in our Best Phones list, and a new top Chromebook to consider if you're looking to buy now.

Read the latest entry in our epic 8-part Android History series

CrackBerry — Getting to grips with the Priv

BlackBerry Priv

With the BlackBerry Priv review out of the way, we've now moved into helping folks get the most out of their device with plenty of help and how to articles to get you started with Android, whether it be the basics or more advanced options. Aside from that, we also posted up the first look at what will likely BlackBerry's second Android smartphone to hit the market, known as 'Vienna'.

iMore — iPad Pro is here!

iPad Pro

Weird week—The iPad Pro went up for order on Wednesday… and promptly showed up in stores the same day! There were precious few Apple Pencils or Smart Keyboards to be found, which means frustrating multi-week delays for most everyone who wants them. We're still finishing Apple TV coverage but we'll be ramping up iPad Pro all this week as well. Keep it locked on iMore!

Windows Central — Rise of the November Update

Windows 10 November Update

This week saw a lot of changes going on at Microsoft. Windows Central reported that Microsoft's attempt to let developer port Android apps to Windows 10 Mobile is being put on hold indefinitely. Unlike Project Islandwood for iOS, Project Astoria was closer to an emulator like system. Microsoft's three other software 'bridges' for web apps, Win32 apps and iPhone games continue.

Turning to more positive news and the Xbox One saw releases of Rise of the Tomb Raider [and Fallout 4}(http://www.windowscentral.com/fallout-4-ships-12-million-copies-retailers-game-generating-record-sales), both of which are receiving high praise.

The first major update to Windows 10 is now out. The so-called November Update brings a bevy of small, but useful changes throughout the OS, adding more polish, optimizations and UI tweaks.

Finally, we reported that Friday, November 20 is the release day for the AT&T Lumia 950. The phone will be available for $549 off-contract although on-contract pricing is not yet announced. The phone will also be sold unlocked through the Microsoft Store. The Lumia 950 XL is expected to be released shortly after and now includes the free Display Dock for Continuum.

Kicked — The smartest water bottle

This week on Kicked Weekly we feature the best prank greeting card, the world's smartest water bottle and even a moustache protector! And we talk about the video of the lady who ordered furniture from eBay but instead received bags of live fish. (A common mixup to be sure!) Plus, Dan's sweater needs to be seen to be believed.

For the coolest crowd funding projects you need to know about (along with a few weekly antics) be sure to subscribe to the Kicked TV YouTube Channel and follow us on social media. We're active on Twitter, Facebook and of course Instagram.

Connectedly — Cameras, TV, and desks that move

This week on Connectedly we took a look at the world's first consumer 3D VR camera and a sleek standing desk in the TableAir. We checked out the Pulse camera and professional-quality time-lapse photography. Finally, you can now be social with your friends and watch TV using the Cast.

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1 week ago

Sony Xperia Z5 or Xperia Z5 Compact: Which is right for you?


Sony has two new Android phones that are very similar to each other. So which is right for you?

That's part of the purchasing decision that Sony has made pretty tough. While we're open in our admiration for the company that makes one of the only high-end, yet sub 5-inch Android phones around, the close nature of the two phones in hardware and in experience can make choosing all the more difficult.

Having spent a good amount of time with both, let's see if we can help.

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1 week ago

From the Editor's Desk: The not-so-Far East


A little more than a week ago I was atop an ancient wall in an ancient land, just an hour or so outside a modern, bustling city. I don't speak a word of Chinese. Can't read a single symbol. And when I first took this job nearly six years ago with the prospect of a good bit of travel, I admittedly was worried by the prospect of being seen as the dumb American overseas. I've seen a lot more of the world than I ever dreamed of six years ago — but I've still barely scratched the surface.

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1 week ago

These are the top LG smartphones you need to know


Let's be completely honest here — LG's generally known as the other South Korean smartphone company. But if that's all you think about LG, you're sorely missing out, as it's been making really good smartphones that too often fly under the radar. That's not to say we haven't seen LG make inroads in the past few years. Google chose it for the Nexus 4 and 5, as well as the new Nexus 5X, and the LG G2 in 2013 marked the start of a new class of flagship device.

LG's also known for making more than a few forgettable low-end phones. But these, here, truly are the LG smartphones you need to be acquainted with.

Article updated November 2015

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1 week ago

Skype offering free calls to France following violence in Paris


In addition to cellular carriers waiving fees for international calls, Skype has announced that it will be making calls to landlines and mobile phones in France free for a few days. This move follows attacks that took place in Paris on Friday night.

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1 week ago

Nextbook Ares 11 mini review

Nextbook Ares 11 detached keyboard

In the Android tablet space, price has always been a key factor in quality. The cheaper the tablet, the lower the quality, and it was almost always an instant no when talking about whether it should be purchased or not. Nextbook is trying to change things up in that space, offering a quality tablet at a relatively inexpensive price — meet the Nextbook Ares 11.

So, how does Nextbook begin to change things when it comes to affordable tablets that aren't terrible? Well, let's take a look at the hardware, software and what you get for the money, and then you can make the decision for yourself.

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1 week ago

Sprint, Verizon offer free calls to France following attacks in Paris


Following Friday's attacks in Paris, both Sprint and Verizon are helping customers stay in touch with friends and family in France, in many cases waiving their fees for SMS and international calls placed to France.

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1 week ago

Motorola Droid Maxx 2 review

Droid Maxx 2 Hero

Amazing battery helps to make this a mid-grade phone worth checking out

The Quick Take

Motorola's Droid Maxx 2 is a solid mid-range offering, available only through Verizon in the US. You can pick it up for $384 which is pretty solid price point for a well designed phone that feels solid and sturdy in your hand with bright colors on the screen and fantastic battery life. There are some down sides that come with that price point though and that includes a camera that is a little wonky in low light and some multitasking issues during use.

The good

  • Textured feel that makes it easy to hold on to
  • Mostly awesome camera
  • Fantastic battery life

The bad

  • Only 16 GB of internal storage is a bit lacking
  • Issues with multi tasking due to processor size
  • Surfing the internet or listening to music can tank your battery
Width Height Thickness 5.83 in
2.95 in
0.43 in
  • Display:
    • 5.5-inch Full HD
    • LCD Display
    • 1920x1080 resolution (400ppi)
  • Camera:
    • 21MP, ƒ/2.0 lens
    • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Battery:
    • 3630 mAh capacity
    • Quick Charge 2.0
  • Chips:
    • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
    • 4x1.6GHz A53 cores + 4x1.1GHz A53 cores
    • 2GB RAM
    • 16GB internal storage
    • microSD slot

About this review

I (Jen Karner) have been using the Droid Maxx 2 for the last week and a half on the Verizon LTE Network in Halethorpe Md. It was used in various parts of Maryland, with mostly good coverage overall — although there were some areas without fantastic coverage. I was using the black 16GB Maxx 2 running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop on Build LCD23.118-21.2.

A Sony Smartwatch 3 was paired with the phone during the review period.

Droid Maxx 2 leaning

Affordability feels awesome

Droid Maxx 2 Hardware

The Droid Maxx 2 is a fairly large phone in your hand — or at least it was in my hand anyway. The textured backplate ensures you're never nervous about accidentally dropping it. While it is plastic phone it's got heft, and never felt cheap in my hand. It's a solid overall feel, which is what we've come to expect from Motorola's design language recently.

This rectangular 5.5 inch slab is packing a 1080p display that takes up the entire front of the phone with the exception of the two small speaker cutouts. The sides of the phone are made of aluminum and really contrasts well against the back pop out back panel. While Moto Maker isn't available for this phone you can get it in an array of replaceable backplate colors to suit your mood. The only reason to remove the backplate it is if you're switching out covers, since underneath it is the massive 3,630 mAh sealed battery. Set into the middle of the back is a small metal panel with the camera, and flash, along with a depressed area that makes the perfect fingerhold. The branding is pretty minimal here as well with a small Motorola logo in the camera back panel, along with some Verizon and Droid branding at the bottom of the casing.

The power button is also textured which means it's nearly impossible to hit the wrong button.

The power button and volume rocker are both located on the right of the phone, with the power button up top. They're both fairly discrete and don't stick out too much. The power button is also textured which means it's nearly impossible to accidentally hit the wrong button. The charging port is on the bottom of the phone, right in the middle. The top of the phone gives you access to your headphone jack, along with a tray for your Nano-SIM and SD card. It's got a very sleek, shiny look that pairs well with the soft touch back panel.

The display is where you're going to be spending most of your time, and it does it's job fairly well. Motorola went with a 1080p resolution on a 5.5 inch screen it looks pretty fantastic considering this is a mid-range phone that's only $384. The screen is washed out but visible when it's super bright outside, and the colors indoors are vibrant without being over saturated. The only real breaks in the screen come from the two small cutouts one at the top of the screen, and one at the bottom. While it looks like a double speaker grill, only one is hiding a speaker for music although it definitely gets the job done well.

The processor in the Droid Maxx 2 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, and sadly this is one of those places where the Maxx 2 falls a bit short. The phone will start to heat up on you if you're surfing the internet or playing music for more than half an hour, and while it never got hot it was definitely noticeable. The 16GB of internal memory started to get crowded fairly quickly as well. Between the installed apps keep running regularly and a few days of taking pictures and shooting video, this phone was down to only 2GB of free space after only a week. So it isn't an immediate problem but it would certainly become one for folks using this for two years. Thankfully there is the ability to add an SD card to expand storage and make things easier.

There are some perks with this phone too though, and one of the big ones is the 3,630 mAh battery. I'll talk about it in greater detail down below, but rest assured that this beast of a battery will get you some great, long term battery life. It's a big battery too, and not just in terms of power. If you take a look under the pop off back panel, you'll see that it's a little over half the size of the phone. It also helps to explain some of the heft you feel when holding the Maxx 2.

Droid Maxx 2 Moto Voice

A beautiful blend of Google and Moto

Droid Maxx 2 Software

The Droid Maxx 2 is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop for now, though Motorola is hoping to roll out an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow sometime in the not too distant future. Motorola did a really great job of giving you access to their Moto apps without loading your phone down with bloatware out of the box and it's a great experience. If you've been using Motorola phones recently it's all fairly recognizable, with the Google suite emphasized by Moto apps like Moto Loop, and Moto Voice.

The setup is clean and easy to navigate even if you haven't been using a Motorola phone, which was the case with me. Moto voice, which allows you to name your phone and wake it using a specific command worked fantastically. You need to be in a fairly quiet area to set it up, so that the app can properly recognize your voice but after that it works really well. You can launch apps, text contacts, or search the internet. Again, it doesn't always respond if the room is noisy, but so long as it recognizes your phrase, it will wake up even if the screen is dark.

The setup is clean and easy to navigate

The notification system for Moto Display is also quite well designed. If your phone is sleeping when you get a notification, an icon will show up on your screen. If you tap and hold you can preview the notification without fully unlocking your phone. Alternately if you want to look at the app, you can launch it right from your sleep screen. It's really well done, and once you get used to it, really convenient. Other Moto apps worth mentioning include Moto Loop which lets you easily control your devices — and keep an eye on your family from a central hub, along with Moto Assist which minimizes distractions while you are driving, and Moto Actions which lets you use actions — like launching your camera by flipping your wrist. All of these work in tandem with the Google suite without overpowering things and it makes for a fantastic user experience.

The processor is where the user experience took a hit, sad to say. It's a solid Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 but at times didn't seem able to keep up with everything —It was prone to auto closing apps when it felt like too many things were running at the same time which could be aggravating, or having serious enough lag in open apps that I closed everything and tried again. It was unfortunate to see the processor lag when doing things like surfing Facebook, or listening to music on Pandora but it was definitely noticeable at times. This still wasn't a deal breaker, but it wasn't ideal by a long shot.

Droid Maxx 2 camera

beautiful in daylight

Droid Maxx Camera

Let's face it, when it comes to features on your phone one of the biggest draws is a decent camera. We've all gotten used to being able to capture a moment, or grab video of it, and we all love selfies — okay, I love selfies, but still. The camera on the Droid Maxx 2 is a pretty solid one too, although the quality did suffer in lower light. This isn't a blow you out of the water amazing camera, but it isn't a dud either.

The rear facing camera is a 21MP, with a f/2.0 lens, phase-detect auto focus, and a dual LED flash. The front facing camera is a 5MP and does well for all of your selfie needs. When you're shooting in decent light, you can expect to snag some beautiful pictures. You'll get clear photos, with vibrant color. However the quality there seriously suffers in lower light, and you'll notice they tend towards graininess. You can counteract this a little bit when it's dark outside by using night mode in the camera options, but even that only helps so much — and won't do you much good if you're trying to take pictures in a dim room.

The options for the camera are fairly straight forward. You can access them by swiping to the right and all of your options are there on a wheel. These include options for HDR, flash, night mode, location tagging, and the like. There aren't any fancy new features here, but you will find all the regular bells and whistles and they all serve you well. The video records at 1080p regularly, but that will drop to 540p if you want to record in slow motion.

The camera here is decent without going above and beyond, into capturing images like you can get from the Galaxy S6 and honestly that's to be expected from a phone in this price range. While it would be nice to have a camera more capable in low light, it's not surprising and the quality you do get is great in daylight. It's nice to see that there was definitely some though put into the camera, even in a mid-grade model.

Droid Maxx 2 branding again

It keeps going and going...

Droid Maxx 2 Battery

When it comes to battery life the general consensus is that a bigger battery is better, right? Well if that's the case then the Maxx 2 is fantastic, with a massive 3,630 Mah battery. Even on days with heavy usage — days where I'm regularly checking Facebook, using Pandora, taking pictures, and surfing the web, I could easily expect to get through the day without a top off charge. Most days I could get somewhere between a day and a day and a half of usage before it became critical that I plugged in to charge up.

It's not removable but this monster of a battery will definitely go the distance in making sure you have the power you need to get through even heavy use days. If you it's a normal use day, and you aren't continuously scrolling through something or another, you can easily get a day and half before you really need to charge. Most days I plugged in before bed with about 30% battery remaining but it does drain faster when you're using the apps that heat the phone up; like listening to music, or using the GPS for extended periods of time.. Even on a day with heavy use I could get a solid 16 hours of intermittent use before I needed to plug in, or lose power.

That means charging your phone won't take long

When it does come time to charge, you've got access to Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0. That means that charging up your phone won't take long, and since it's huge it'll keep you going for at least a day with a full battery. Although be warned, certain apps or extended web surfing will take a hefty chunk out of that battery. Even so you can easily get by with charging while you sleep.

Droid Maxx on wood

Solid without becoming spectacular

Droid Maxx 2 Bottom line

If you're looking for a decent mid-grade phone, then you should certainly take a look at the Droid Maxx 2. It's got a solid camera with fantastic battery life and a great display — for this price range. The processor isn't fantastic, but it gets the job done more or less. For $384 it's a decent phone, without really wowing me. It's also worth noting that the design is implemented well, and that even with a plastic body it feels solid in your hand.

This is a tough market niche right now though, with contenders like the Moto X, Asus Zenfone 2 and Nexus 5X. With so man fantastic phones, it really comes down to choosing the features that matter most to you, and the top feature for the Maxx 2 is definitely the battery.

Should you buy the Droid Maxx 2? Maybe

Only if you're prepared to choose fantastic battery life as the feature you need. While this phone is fairly affordable, you do lose out on features that decide how you use your phone. If you're willing to trade processor ability, and storage for battery life then this might be a decent phone. This isn't a bad phone by a long shot and so long as you know what you're getting into, it works quite well. With so many options for a mid-range phone I'd definitely suggest looking at all of your options before settling on the Droid Maxx 2.

Buy the Droid Maxx 2 from Verizon Buy the Droid Maxx 2 from Motorola

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1 week ago

How to move your content from BlackBerry 10 to your new BlackBerry Priv


If you want to transfer your data from your old BlackBerry 10 smartphone to your new, Android powered Priv, you can use the BlackBerry Content Transfer app.

The BlackBerry Content Transfer app allows you to move data from your Contacts, Calendar, Pictures, Videos, Music, Text messages (SMS), Notes, Tasks, Documents, Email accounts. If you want to know how to get your data over, here's a quick walkthrough of how to do it.

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1 week ago

Snag SanDisk's 128GB microSD card for just £34 from Amazon UK


If you're looking expand the storage on your brand new BlackBerry Priv, then Amazon UK has a deal for you. Right now, you can grab SanDisk's 128GB microSD card for just £34.99. That's down from its normal price of £59.99.

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1 week ago

HTC's 5.5-inch One X9 makes a stop at TENAA


A new handset from HTC has made its way through TENAA, China's telecom regulator. Called the HTC X9u by TENAA, the phone is also being called the HTC One X9 by some, and features a 5.5-inch, 1080p display and runs Android 5.0.2 out of the box.

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1 week ago

Aukey's rugged Bluetooth speaker is just $20 at Amazon


Aukey is offering its rugged Bluetooth speaker for just $20 with the use of coupon code 2CZVR5JH at Amazon, a big savings from the original $60 price point. This speaker has a rugged design, and is great for outdoors or even in the shower. It's IPX4 certified, so you'll be able to use it in the rain or at the beach.

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1 week ago

Google offers free calls to France with Hangouts after attacks in Paris


Following a series of attacks that took place in Paris on Friday evening, Google has announced that calls made to France using Hangouts will be free of charge. Google announced the move in a Google+ post expressing solidarity with France:

We're thinking of you, Paris. No fees on calls to France, via Hangouts. #ParisAttacks

Free calls from Hangouts include those made from the web, Android, and iOS. If you need to, you can find Hangouts for Android on Google Play.

Source: +Google

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